After losing the battle against net neutrality rules at the Federal Communications Commission, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai has taken his fight to Congress. Today, Pai asked the House of Representatives to strip the FCC of funding it needs to enforce net neutrality rules.
“Congress should forbid the Commission from using any appropriated funds to implement or enforce the plan the FCC just adopted to regulate the Internet,” Pai said in prepared statements for an FCC budget hearing. “Not only is this plan bad policy; absent outside intervention, the Commission will expend substantial resources implementing and enforcing regulations that are wasteful, unnecessary, and affirmatively detrimental to the American public.”
Pai is one of two Republicans on the FCC. The three-member Democratic majority voted in favor of the net neutrality order. The decision reclassified broadband as a common carrier service and imposed net neutrality rules that prevent Internet service providers from blocking or throttling content or prioritizing content in exchange for payment.
With all due respect to Victor Hugo…
SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE
Speaker of the House, acting like a king,
but can’t control the crazy anti-science wing.
Most of them are old, some of them are kooks,
some of them are hanging out with David Duke.
Nobody really likes the orange man,
not many people call him friend,
He’s long ago outstayed his welcome,
but God, if he won’t be there ‘til the end!
Speaker of the House, quick to catch your eye,
never wants a Fox News Host to pass him by.
He pisses off the blacks, his men are full of hate,
thinking all minorities are second rate.
Will do anything to screw Obama,
even if it don’t make sense.
and if you really think about it,
Boehner’s kind of freaking dense!
Charge em for the stamps, extra for the tramps,
get them riled up about the FEMA camps.
Here a little slice, there a little cut,
Gotta keep the new health exchanges shut.
It doesn’t matter what the folks want,
He only cares if you are rich,
Otherwise, he won’t listen,
and wish you were lying in a ditch.
Speaker of the House, doesn’t have a clue,
always needs the Kochs to tell him what to do.
Obamacare repeal, another wasted dime,
gotta do this for the fifty-seventh time.
If you don’t agree with his views,
then you are useless Liberal scum.
He has no time for evil commies,
the folks who would be Stalin’s chum.
Speaker of the House, doesn’t really think,
twiddling his thumbs while his approval shrinks.
Doesn’t have a plan, not much of a man,
But no one ever doubts he’s got a wicked tan.
Got to hold the line on immigration,
Wants to shut the border down,
Then he gets a huge ovation,
But he’ll always be a freaking clown!
The first law of holes is when you find yourself in one, you should stop digging. But it seems that our old friend John Boehner has not only elected to keep digging, but he’s rented a backhoe for the job:
Boehner: I didn't want “interference” from White House in Netanyahu speech http://t.co/G1ef6XFavY
“Haven’t you taken one of the few bipartisan issues in this country — support for Israel — and turned it into a political football?” Wallace asked.
“I have not. The fact is that we had every right to do what we did,” Boehner responded. “I wanted the prime minister to come here. There’s a serious threat facing the world. And radical Islamic terrorists are not going to go away.”
Wallace then pointed out that Boehner asked Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., not to tell the White House about the joint meeting with Netanyahu.
“Why would you do that?” Wallace asked.
“Because I wanted to make sure that there was no interference. There’s no secret here in Washington about the animosity that this White House has for Prime Minister Netanyahu. I frankly didn’t want that getting in the way, quashing what I thought was a real opportunity,” Boehner responded.
Of course, in the same interview, His Orangeness proceeded to show how much of his concern for our national security is a joke by admitting he’s prepared to allow the Department of Homeland Security to go into shutdown, engaged in the same delusion he was in 2013 that voters will blame Democrats for any damage done.
Times like these, I reflect upon the words of the Little Corporal: “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”
This paradox is not just about the party’s platform. Republicans still struggle with the perception that their party is indifferent to the particular experience of blacks in America. There’s nothing exotic about black people who believe in free markets and small government, who oppose abortion, same-sex marriage, or affirmative action, whose views on immigration and foreign policy are imbued with a strong security-first mindset, or who ascribe to respectability politics and the concept of rugged individualism. They are black conservatives, and they are in ample supply. However, it is unusual to find black people who, in addition to holding these conservative principles, also oppose the Great Society-era statutes outlawing racial discrimination and deem them unnecessary, like many in the Republican Party. Taken together, black Republicans appear to espouse the party platform and accept the party’s view that structural racism does not play a role in denying black America access to today’s meritocratic society.
Black Republicans are outliers in the two camps to which they belong—the elephants in any room they enter. The friction between much of black America and the Republican Party, particularly regarding civil-rights legislation and social programs, makes the position of the black Republican all the more difficult. Recent polling provides evidence of the dissonance. For example, 66 percent of white Republicans believe blacks receive equal treatment in the criminal justice system compared to only 10 percent of blacks. On more controversial matters such as an apology for slavery and reparations, nearly 60% of black Americans support these measures whereas only 10 and 4 percent of Republicans do, respectively. Though racial polarization exists on these issues, the gap is widest between black Americans and Republicans. As a result, black Republicans find themselves as precarious conciliators between two groups that seem uninterested in reconciliation.
If the Republican Party wants to attract black voters, the path starts with reconciling its past and recognizing the primacy of civil rights. A century of racially driven electoral strategies cannot be undone in one election cycle. From the state-level “lily-white” movement after Reconstruction to the post-civil rights era Southern strategy that realigned the two parties on race, the Republican Party made conscious decisions at the state and federal levels to court the white vote at the expense of the black vote. Reversing this process begins with guaranteeing black Americans that the party won’t undo hard-won federal civil-rights legislation. With the permanence of these laws assured, black Americans would be free to prioritize other policy issues. Conservatives could then find significant numbers of welcoming ears for their economic and domestic policy initiatives.
The Republican 2016 primary is in full swing. Potential candidates are traveling the country pitching their conservative ideas like cutting taxes for the wealthy, blocking free community college for those who work for it, taking away affordable health care for millions of Americans, and blocking comprehensive immigration reform.
These ideas coming from Republicans are not new and not surprising. But a particular candidate’s visit today to a particular city is surprising.
Today, the Detroit Economic Club is set to welcome Jeb Bush to speak to its members — a visit that is shadowed by Bush’s history with our automotive industry.
Just a couple years ago Jeb Bush was asked by Charlie Rose if he supported the President’s decision to rescue General Motors. Without hesitation, he responded: “I don’t. I don’t.”
So Jeb Bush doesn’t support the over one million jobs saved by the auto rescue? Jobs in Detroit and across Michigan and throughout the country.
Bush’s position echoes that of the last GOP presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, who was willing to “let Detroit go bankrupt.”
Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush are one in the same on many issues, but their positions on the president’s bold decision to rescue the auto industry, and save our local economy are unforgivable.
And since the rescue, the auto industry has become a key component in our economy’s rebound. Last year alone light-vehicle sales totaled 16.5 million, the highest number since 2006.
But the President’s decision to rescue the auto industry wasn’t just about helping an American industry at a time when it needed it the most, or about having faith in the American worker whose hard work and ingenuity could rebound after a crisis. It was about the millions of middle class and working families who would be without a paycheck, without a way to pay rent, or a way to feed the kids.
But that’s just it. Republicans like Jeb Bush put their own political priorities ahead of middle class and working families, like those in Detroit and across the Midwest who directly benefitted from the rescue.
Republicans like Jeb Bush and those vying to be their party’s 2016 nominee, have decided who they’re going to fight for, and it’s not the middle class. It’s the wealthy, it’s the entitled, and it’s the richest slice of Americans who bankroll their campaigns.
It’s clear who the Democrats are fighting for. Just this week, President Obama outlined his budget to strengthen the middle class and help America’s hard-working families get ahead. President Obama and Democrats understand that investing in and supporting the middle class will create a sustainable national economy that is built to last.
That’s the difference. Democrats will continue to stand with and fight for middle class families, while Republicans will choose to fight for special interests, and stand up against decisions that support middle class families, like rescuing the American auto industry.
Speaking as one of the longterm unemployed Americans who despaired of ever rejoining the work force, the auto industry bailout has been a godsend.
People who know me know I am usually pretty calm and not prone to go on Howard Beale-esque rants about how crooked and nasty politics can be.
But after what happened this Nov. 4 I can no longer sit idly by. This years midterm elections were an appalling travesty on multiple levels. It’s not just the results themselves that upset me, but the fact those results were evocative of a hopelessly broken elitist political machine that has done little good and plenty of harm to the so-called “Greatest Country in The World” for far too long now.
It might be easy for you to sit back and dismiss my views because I am an immigrant and not a true, full blooded American but the fact is, I’ve been here for 7 years and I’ll be here for the foreseeable future. This is as much my country as it is yours and I have every right to be concerned about the direction in which it’s headed.
That said, let me break down point by point why I really hate American politics today.
The Two Party System
Because of how the American political machine is constructed, there are really only two viable parties. The Democratic and The Republican. It’s probably more difficult in the United States than any other developed country in the world to get elected as a 3rd Party candidate. Oh sure, every so often an Independent will make a few waves and win a seat or two but we have never had any viable 3rd parties in this country compared to Canada and most European nations.
Politicians and voters are expected to come down on one side or the other, with virtually no room for a middle ground. That’s not a recipe for prosperity.
Hyper partisanship/Go Team Go!
Politics should never be framed as a battle of Good vs. Evil, rather it should be more like Good vs. Good. Republicans and Democrats alike should be concerned with the well being of all Americans. Compromise should be the norm, not the exception to the rule.
When one party demonizes the other and forces people to choose sides like it’s some kind of war, nothing constructive comes of it whatsoever. And when I say nothing constructive I mean nothing legislatively. How can you be expected to compromise with the guy across the table when you utterly despise him?
Hyper partisanship means that, based on our beliefs, we are all labeled as either “Liberal” or “Conservative” and instantly profiled. That is to say that, if my views mark me as a Liberal, I instantly become not only a Liberal, but a tree hugging communist who never expects anyone to work hard for their money, smokes pot and listens to weird New Age music. If my views identify me as Conservative I am now a racist, homophobic, religious, Neo confederate redneck who loves me some guns.
Of course Americans are a diverse people and it’s absolutely ridiculous to, in the face of such diversity, adopt such a black and white approach to how people think and feel about the world.
I’ve never understood why these are necessary. They do nothing but undermine the Presidency and create legislative gridlock. Consider Obama’s Presidency:
2008-2010: Democrats control the House and Senate
2010-2014: Republicans control the House, Democrats control the Senate
2014-2016: Republicans control the House and Senate
That means that, out of an eight year, two term Presidency Obama only gets about two years to constructively get anything done. A GOP house isn’t going to do much for him and a GOP Senate on top of that now means he’s practically reduced to President-in-name-only because he might as well be powerless.
In Canada, we have an election and whoever we choose to elect gets a full four years at the helm. Now of course depending on how things go that means it can either be four hurtful years or four helpful years but regardless, it gives the ruling party time to actually enact legislation rather than be tied up in endless gridlock.
Changing things up every two years to me seems a far more costly and far less effective form of governance. How can we expect a President to effectively achieve his legislative goals if the legislature is constantly changing? It’s like if a caddie kept swapping clubs out of his golfers bag every few holes and still expected him to shoot a 67.
Not only do we have midterms every two years, but the Presidential elections are every four. I know this scheduling is written right in to the Constitution and will probably never be changed, but I still dislike it.
Having more elections and firmly scheduled elections means that politicians are constantly campaigning and never governing. An article I read a couple of days ago said that given the current political climate the 2016 Presidential campaign begins on Nov. 5, 2014.
I find that campaign timeframes in America are ridiculously long. I’ve previously stated that, in Canada, the law allows for a MAXIMUM of I think 60 days between when an election is called and when the vote is held. That means Canadian politicians spend a lot more time working and a lot less time (and money) campaigning.
This is, of course, not exclusive to America. Attack ads have been part of the political game for close to 30 years now. I find though, that since the election of Barack Obama, the amount of negative campaigning and attack ads and just plain dirty politics has increased exponentially.
I’m sure we all remember the person who snuck into a nursing home and took pictures of Thad Cochran’s ill wife during the Mississippi GOP primary. It’s bothered me for years now how much politics has become more about trashing the other guy than championing your own positions.
Sadly, I don’t see this trend changing anytime soon.
Of course, I saved the Worst for last.
I firmly believe that nothing. NOTHING has been more damaging to American politics than the Citizens United decision. Because of this, the power of government has been definitively and permanently handed over not to the American people but to the Corporations and special interest groups who are now free to spend Billions of dollars annually on politics and politicians.
What tiny bit of power the little guy had left is gone forever. Politics isn’t for you and me anymore. It’s for Company Presidents and Directors of the Board. It’s for Bankers and Investors. It’s for Real Estate Moguls and Sports Agents. It’s for “Think Tanks” and Advocacy groups.
The entire power of the U.S. political system has been given, on a silver platter even, to a very elite and very moneyed group of people who will not hesitate to use that power to further their own ends at the expense of everything and everyone else.
Now it might be easy to read all this and assume that I hate America.
But I don’t.
I want nothing more than to see growth, prosperity and liberty for ALL Americans.
I love this country. I love what America has traditionally stood for.
What I hate is what has happened to this country and how what should be the finest example of democracy in the world has turned into a crooked, corrupted, distorted cash filled trash heap with little hopes of being cleaned up anytime soon.
At the beginning of this essay I referred to Howard Beale. I think it’s safe to say given the state of politics in this country today, there’s plenty of Americans out there who have every right to be and indeed ought to be Mad as Hell.
Miranda Blue talks about a meeting on Capital Hill where some top Republican congressmen lent their support to a notorious anti Muslim hate group. No surprise, Louie Terror Babies Gohmert was there.
ACT for America, the anti-Muslim group run by Brigitte Gabriel, held a legislative briefing on Capitol Hill today where it was joined by Republican members of Congress including Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert, South Carolina Rep. Jeff Duncan, Illinois Rep. Peter Roskam, and Arkansas Sen. John Boozman.
Gabriel posted pictures on Facebook and Twitter of Boozman, Bachmann and Gohmert speaking and of Roskam receiving the group’s “Patriot Award.” Duncan tweeted that he was planning on speaking to the gathering. Gabriel wrote that she had planned on presenting another award to Sen. Ted Cruz, but that he was unable to attend.